This review is based on the complex Team Performance Analysis work that I have done. This concept is explained briefly. This works top-down and moves down from the Test to individual performances. The Performance Analysis determination is structured in the following manner.
Match >>> Teams >>> Innings >>> Functions >>> Players. In this analysis, I will use the data for the top two levels.
Salient facts on Test Performance Analysis project: Top two levels
- These are non-contextual. Home/away, team strengths, period, series status etc. are not part of the equations. These are based solely on scorecard data, and nothing more. As such, these are not ratings.
- The cornerstone of these computations is the fact that the two tied matches are the only ones, which would be accorded 50-50 Team Performance Points (TPP) to the two teams. Everything else flows from this base.
- Wicket resources are calculated based on an in-depth analysis of the 2300+ Tests, which have been played.
- Run margins are based on the targets set.
- There are draws and draws. Not all draws are equal.
- All non-tied draws will be allotted points below 100. How close to 100 will be determined by how close to a result the match ended. The match is extended into the fourth dimension, so to speak, to get a handle on the nature of draw and points allotted.
- The total points for a drawn match depend on the extent of completion of the match. It could range from 0.38 points (Test #1907-Eng: 7/0) to 98.36 points (Test #1420-Saf: 552/5, Eng: 183 & 369/9). The closer the chasing team gets to the target and the defending team, to capturing 10 wickets, the total points will be to 100.0.
- A team, which draws a match, would always score less than 75 points depending on the scores. The highest points acquisition for a drawn match has been by South Africa, with 74.5 points, in Test #616 in which it missed a win very narrowly. Aus: 143, Saf: 332 and Aus: 148/8. Test #1420, mentioned above, follows closely.
- The Mumbai Test during 2011 was a draw with the scores level. India gets slightly more points since it has a very good chance of winning if the match continued for a few more balls. Also, the fact that it cannot lose, come what may.
Read: Rahul, Pant tons in vain as England wraps series 4-1
- As already mentioned, only the teams in the two tied matches get equal points. Even amongst these two, the 1961 tie is the perfect one since all resources were exhausted. We cannot play a single ball more in any innings, in any dimension we choose. The 1986 tie is an imperfect one since Australia lost only 12 wickets.
- All matches, which ended in results, will be allocated 100 points, to be shared between the two teams, based on a set of complicated formulae. There are two exceptions.
- The first is the contrived result based on the agreement between Nasser Hussain and Cronje. Only two innings were completed and the two teams share only 50 points (Test #1483).
- The other is the Test conceded by Pakistan because of ball-tampering allegations (Test #1814). This is worked out based on the condition at the time of the abrupt conclusion of the match. The situation then was favourable to Pakistan. This is the only Test in which the "winning" team gets fewer points than the "losing" team. For all practical purposes, the "win" is just not there.
- Not all identical wins are equal. A 100-run win with scores of Team1: 150, Team2: 70, Team1: 100 and Team2: 80 will be considered to be far more emphatic than another 100-run win with scores of Team1: 300, Team2: 200, Team1: 250 and Team2: 250. The reason is obvious. The winning margin of 100 is a much higher percentage of the winning team run totals: 250-40% and 550-18%.
- It is not possible to predict a range for a win by runs since it depends on the scores and the final margin. The margins have varied between a 1-run win (Test #1210-scored 50.08-49.92 for West Indies) to the 675-run win (Test #176-scored 92.82-7.18 for England).
- Similarly, two wins by innings and 50 runs could have different team performance points for the winning teams depending on their single innings scores. A win with scores of Team1: 80, Team2: 200 and Team1: 70 will be considered to be far more emphatic than another similar margin win with scores of Team1: 250, Team2: 500 and Team1: 200. The reason is obvious. The winning margin is a much higher % of the single innings score of the winning team: 200-50% and 500-20%.
- A team, which achieves an innings win, would always score more than 75 points since the winning team always played only one inning.
- A team that wins by wickets would always score below 75 points since the winning teams have always played two innings.
- The maximum points in a match as has been secured by England who won Test #176 by 675 runs, the target being 742. This has been referred to above.
England – India Test Series – 2018
Let us move on to the Test series, which finished 4-1 in favour of England. Let us also see how well India competed.
The TPP differential is quite low since the margin of win was only 31. On the target of 193, this works out to around 15%. This difference is captured by the TPP scoreline, viz., 52.3-47.7, which indicates a very close win. Inarguably, this is the closest India came close to defeating England in the four Tests they lost.
This was a complete washout of a Test. From the first Indian wicket to fall, there was only one winner. England got India down and kept it down until the last wicket was captured. The difference in the teams was vast and is captured by the 83.3-16.7 TPP margin.
It will be of interest to the readers that the differential is very high because the final margin of (innings and) 159 runs is nearly 40% of the England total. The loss of only seven wickets in England’s total does not mean anything in the final calculations since it was a declaration: Could as well have been 396 for 3. But the fact that the two Indian scores came only to 60% of the England total means a lot.
This was a comprehensive win but nowhere near the utter demolition that was achieved in the second Test. That England reached over 60% of the final target is enough to give it respectability. That Stokes – Buttler stand enabled England to come out of the Test with its heads held high. This is reflected in the 61.7-38.3 win.
This was somewhat similar to the first Test. However, the final margin of 60 and the target of 245 make this a slightly more comfortable win. This explains the slightly wider 54.1-45.9 TPP scoreline. The differential is about 16% as against the 9% in the first Test.
This Test also followed the path of the first and fourth Tests. Two middling first innings scores, ending with a small lead for one team. Then the script changed. England, with two huge hundreds from its top batsmen, crossed 400 for the first time in the series.
India was set the impossible task of scoring well over 450 runs. The script continued to change. India, despite four batsmen contributing a single, made a fist of it and kept the margin to a reasonable one. This is reflected in the TPP scoreline. The differential is about 21%.
The final TPP tally for the series is given below. This clearly depicts that England was dominant for the better part of the series and seized its moments more often than not. If everything had worked for India, it could even have won the series 3-2.
This TPP scoreline is probably a more accurate depiction of how the series went than the 4-1 scoreline. One batsman, Kohli, and the pace quartet helped India gain this level of respect. However, this has only papered over India’s overseas failings.
TPP for England: 284.7 (56.9%)
TPP for India: 215.3 (43.1%).
Just as a comparison, I have given below the TPP values for a few recent series.
The last mentioned series is interesting. Despite Kohli’s awful form, India’s loss was not as bad as it seemed to be. The win and draw helped. In terms of TPP, the 2018 series was better.